In the preschool classroom, students are taught practical life skills from three categories: care-of-the-self, care-of-the-environment, and physical skills. These skills include hand washing, snack preparation, cleaning the classroom, and pounding, scooping, pouring, and lacing activities.
Students have a great deal of freedom in terms of following their own academic interests. With the guidance of their teachers, students may select appropriate learning activities. Students use traditional Montessori materials, such as number boards, counting beads, and fingerboards, to learn basic math facts. In science, students study plants and animals, learning basic classification skills, such as differentiating between organic/inorganic, plant/animal, and living/non-living.
It is through listening that children learn to differentiate one sound from the next and begin to recognize necessary linguistic details. Activities such as puzzles and matching games prepare the child’s eyes for reading. Once these audio and visual skills are developed, the child is ready to combine these skills and start writing.
Students learn about the parts of the earth, landforms, the continents and the solar system. Art projects are open-ended and encourage students to experiment with different artistic mediums. Music is taught at “line time” through singing and also through an introduction to rhythm. Children also have the opportunity to learn the basics of Spanish and Chinese vocabulary and pronunciation when the foreign language teachers make their daily visits to the preschool classrooms.
The preschool program provides children with the necessary foundations in mathematics, language, and the sciences to succeed in the elementary classroom. Children leaving this classroom typically can read simple words and can also write in cursive. Teachers ensure that the child has the necessary social skills to develop friendships and to learn at the next level.